1781 is best known for the American triumph at Yorktown, but at the start of the year the American cause was in trouble. The French were beginning to tire of their commitment and little progress appeared to being made. There was an increasing chance that a conference of the European powers would impose a peace treaty that would split the American colonies, with the British retaining those areas actually under their control. This in particular meant the southern states, where the British had re-established some control in the previous year, after adopting a new 'southern strategy'.
This book follows the events of 1781, a year that saw the British southern strategy fall apart as they lost control of the countryside. They ended up with control of a few cities, and with their main southern army, under General Cornwallis, building a new base at Yorktown. Meanwhile Washington managed to convince the French to abandon plans for an attack on New York, and instead cooperate with the American army, move south and try to catch Cornwallis. We also follow more minor events, such as Benedict Arnold's attempts to make himself useful to the British, mainly by carrying out a series of unsuccessful raids.
This is an interesting year to have chosen for this approach, and brings together both the key developments of the year and some of the less significant actions to paint a picture of a year in which the American struggle for independence made dramatic strides towards success.
Part I: A Winter's Tale
1 - The Darkest New Year
2 - Disorder, Fear and Mutiny
3 - Hills of the South Country
4 - Hell in Virginia
5 - Sunrise at the Cowpens
6 - The Race to the Dan
7 - We Fight, Get Beat, and Fight Again
Part II: No Spring nor Summer Rest
8 - Everything has Changed
9 - The Lion Sleeps at Yorktown
10 - We Have Pursued Them to the Eutaws
Part III: The Guns of Autumn
11 - The Siege of Yorktown
12 - Capitulation
13 - Aftermath
Author: Robert L. Tonsetic